black man handcuffs (blacklivesmatter)

“We have more work to do when more young black men languish in prison than attend colleges and universities across America.” – President Barack Obama

*In a recent article the widely held belief surrounding the number of black men incarcerated outnumbering the number of black men enrolled in higher education was refuted. The piece is titled “The myth that there are more black men in prison than in college, debunked in one chart.” The author appears to believe through proving this assertion about prison and education ratios to be inaccurate either a point of great progress can be demonstrated, or an overstatement of calamity about the state of African American men can be corrected.

Yet the real issue is the number of people in prison should never be similar to the number educated. For most in our country this in fact holds true, but for black men the two numbers are in fact close and that is the inescapable problem. The supposed myth on its face may in fact be incorrect. There may be more black men in college than in prison, but the truth still stands that there are a socially catastrophic number of black men behind bars in the United States. Let me give a bit of context for this discussion. Referencing the same article above

“The Census estimates that approximately 18,508,926 people in the U.S. population are black males, of all ages…The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Prisoner Statistics Program reports that in that same year, 526,000 were in state or federal prisons, and, as of mid-year 2013, 219,660 were in local jails, making for a total of about 745,000 behind bars”

745k black men incarcerated in us

To give a lens for viewing this data India is a country of 1.2 Billion people, the country in total only has around 380,000 prisoners. In fact, there are more African American men incarcerated in the U.S. than the total prison populations in India, Argentina, Canada, Lebanon, Japan, Germany, Finland, Israel and England combined.

This article by Antonio Moore continues at Huffington Post Black Voices.